tv Charlie Rose PBS February 11, 2013 12:00pm-1:00pm EST
>> rose: welcome to the program. we begin this evening with yale university law professor akhil amar, author of america's unwritten constitution, the precedents and principleses we live by. >> when you look at the thing, the bill of rights t says congress shall make no law a bridging free speech but what if the president tries to sensor speech or fed call rourts or states, do we not have free speech before the first amendment was adopted, the first year and a half or so of the constitution? so my claim is that we have to honor this written text but much of our actual constitutional experience requires us to go beneath and behind the words, while staying faithful to the words them selves that is the trick, going beneath and behind and yet staying faithful. >> we conclude this evening
with julie taymor whose credits include lion king an spider-man. >> one thing that i do enjoy doing, whether it's in opera theatre or film, is to push the envelope. i like to do things that haven't been done before. i like to take chances. i like to, to-- i don't particularly like to repeat myself. so you may recognize things that oh, that looks like work that she's done before. but on the other hand, the joy of creating is to do something you've never done before. and itses to bring things to people and this is really a mantra for me. i want to take people to places they didn't know they wanted to go. >> akhil amar and julie taymor coming up. >> funding for charlry rose was provide odd by the following:
unchanged. some scholars question relevance of the constitution in the modern day, others insist we must strictly adhere to the words of our founders, akhil amar suggests that we look beyond the text. he is the sterling professor at yale law school and a constitutional law scholar. his new book is called america's unwritten constitution, the precedence and principleses we live by. i am pleased to have him at this table. welcome. >> thank you. >> so what about this love affair with the constitution that you have, did it come from undergraduate z it come from law school, did it come from some sense of america and its -- >> it came from the day that i was born and because the day i'm born in ann arbor, michigan, my parents are not u.s. citizens. they ever's students, they're, they were here to do their medical training. they met in ann arbor and because of the first sentence of the 14th amendment, great gift, the constitution gives a gift to peon my birthday, a birthday
gift t makes me a citizen of the united states. >> because is with born here, no questions asked. and i think ever since, and i grew up as an immigrant kid, very much believing in america. my parents chose this place. they came here and i have been, i have this love affair with mark and its constitution and we have been trying ever since to repay the gift that it gave me. >> rose: when did you decide you wanted to be a constitutional scholar? >> i think in retrospect, you know, things seem obvious. but i think it was a process. i think there were three things that were key. when i was 10 years old my parents took me to see independence hall and the declaration of independence where it was drafted and the constitution. we went to the national archives. we went, hi lunch with my congressperson. and i visited mount vernon
and the white house so i think that had a really big effect on me. then when i was in high school i was the editor in chief of our high school newspaper. and the principles censored some of my editorials which were maybe kind of too politically edgy. and then i came, i was lucky enough to go to yale college and just studied from amazing undergraduate teachers of american history, edmond morgan, john morton blum, so i think that combination just, you know, in retrospect it seems obvious i was destined to do this. >> rose: editor of the law review an all that. and now you teach there. >> i condition believe i get paid to teach. >> rose: and when you use the term "the unwritten constitution" what dow mean? >> i don't mean to take away from this document that i do love. these 8,000 words that we call the constitution that calls itself the
constitution, and i wrote a previous book, walking the reader through the written thing from start to finish. but this document doesn't say the rule of law in so many words. doesn't say checks and balances, limited government, federal im, separation of powers. doesn't say separate and inherently unequal. doesn't say one person, one vote. doesn't say that a criminal defendant has the right to take the stand in his own defense. and yet all of those things, did i mention one person, one vote. doesn't say the bill of rights even though there are amendments that we call bill of rights. when you look at the thing, the bill of rights, it says congress shall make no law a bridging free speech but what if the president tries to censor speech or federal courts or states, did we not have free speech before the first amendment was adopted? the first year and a half or so of the constitution? so my claim is that we have to honor this written text but much of our actual constitutional experience requires us to go beneath and behind the words, while staying fateth-- faithful to
the words, that is the trick, going beneath and behind yet staying faithful. >> will you recognize this idea and this person, roll tape. >> the only way you can have democracy in an extensive nation is through written laws. and if you don't give those written laws the meaning that they were understood to have by the people who adopted them and more importantly by the people to whom they were promulgated, democracy doesn't work. the key question with regard to textualism and original meaning versus the opposite view which is that the constitution evolves and the supreme court says how it evolves, the key question is simply this, would the american people have ratified the document if it said the application of this document and what it means shall be whatever the supreme court says it means from age to age.
nobody, nobody would have ratified that document. it's a dead document to you. >> i like to say an enduring document. >> rose: but you don't say it's a living document. >> it is not living. it is not living. >> rose: so what is the basic difference between judge scalia and professor mar -- >> there are some differences between judge scalia and judge scalia because he talks a good game but does he, for example, brief that a criminal defendant has a right to take the stand in his own behave-- behalf. and he does. and yet this document doesn't say so. and at the time the bill of rights was adopted, no criminal defendant in america could take the stand in his own defense. and even at the time the 14th amendment was a dodd after the civil war, almost no criminal defendant could-- . >> rose: he accepts the idea there are constitutional rights that were not in play at the time the document was
written. >> well, it depends what day you ask him. because sometimes it accepts it and sometimes he says thing like that now here is what i would say. the constitution itself tells us that there are more rights, never less. so i agree with him. i don't want the supreme court to just bend this and fold it up into a piece of origami and do whatever it wants with it but the text itself says there are uninnumerated rights, more rights than listed but never less. then the question is how do we find those additional rights under the 9th amendment which he doesn't like some of, but also under the 14th amendment which speaks very spaciously of the privileges and immunities of citizens of the united states. well, what are those. and one final thing t may not be a living document but it has been amended over and over again. and the amendments that happened lated which are added as postscript, like a careless written letter so, many pss and ppses don't fully tell us just how much of what went before, we have
to rethink. one example. where does it is a that a woman is eligible to be president. because when you read the words of article 2 it says he, him, his. >> rose: right. >> my claim is the 19th amendment was about women's politically quality political equality but doesn't say in so many words that black and white that hillary clinton an sarah palin are eligible to be president and vice presidentment but it has to mean that. >> rose: where do you think it might be amended in the future. >> that's the last chapter. >> rose: i know. >> there are different ways of thinking about an unwritten constitution. and i end with the constitution still to be written, the constitution of the future, of 2020, of 2121, of 2222. the unfinished constitution and i offer a few thoughts on that. one thing is we have to think seriously about that. if we can talk, spend a lot of time thinking about stuff that happened 250 years ago, we need to be thinking about
posterity, about what the constitution that we should we qooelt to people 250 years from now. here with my principleses. number one that any constitutional amendment as a practical mat never today's world is going to have to satisfy both the republicans and the democrats. there is a chapter on the party system t in effect built t that is part of our unwritten constitution, we have a two party system and the gestures to a two party system, in a couple of ways, but a two party system means that you will never get two-thirds of the house, and two-thirds of the senate, three quarters of the state to agree to anything unless both parties are on board. second anything that we add to the federal constitution is going to need to, as a practical matter be road tested by states first. almost everything in our constitution states tried first. they had written constitutions. three branches of government, by-- separate business of rights, judicial review, so all of that first, some of them got rid of slavery first, some of them gave
women the vote first. so stuff that is already in the constitution was road tested first by the state and that will be true going forward. the third principles is that almost all the amendments have added to liberty and equality except for prohibition, not taken away from liberty quality. what are the payoffs of that. here is an amendment that i think could actually happen. someone who is born outside the united states comes in early age, should at some point be eligible for president. why would that work. >> rose: early age would be defined as. >> you have to be here for 30 years or something. why might that pass. because it adds to liberty and equality, it continues this great narrative of a document from the people and then we end slavery and promise women's equality and women's equality, an 18-year-old vote t would fit this trajectory. both republicans and democrats might favor it because for every janet granholm who might be eligible there is an arnold schwarzenegger, henry
connectioner for every madeleine albright. >> rose: all of those people to the born if the united states. >> right, but the republicans might be able to say you know, we believe in enforcing our borders but we're not opposed to the right kind of immigration. they might find it in their political interest to support this as part of comprehensive immigration reform. the person who actually introduced the constitutional amendment to do just that, orrin hatch of utah, republican, i testified on behalf of it. and the tea party, the republican party has gone a little crazy of late but they are going to recover their senses. because they have to win immigrant americans. this might be part of it. and states do this. jennifer granholm was governor of michigan. arnold schwarzenegger of governor of california, governors are minipresidents. and so if state does it, if it passed my three states, states have road tested the idea. both parties might be in favor of it. and it adds to liberty and equality it fits the story, the trajectory, the unwritten trajectory. >> rose: what is another one like that.
>> direct election of the president. >> rose: there we go. >> because how do we pick governors in states. we don't have a little minielectoral college. here is how we do it in california we count all the votes equally and carefully and if it's close we recount them. call us crazy but that is how we do it in california, in texas, in pennsylvania, we do that in every state. and every state-- . >> rose: we don't do that in the nation. >> direct relation of the president looks like an american idea for two reasons. because state does it for their governor so it doesn't look weird, european. frooerky. and second, because part of our unwritten constitution is not in the founding document, one person, one vote is a bedrock principles today, since war in court. not in the text but today we really believe in treating voters equally. the electoral college doesn't do that. this would. and by the way, both republicans and democrats might be in favor of this because the electoral college today isn't skewed to either party. it helped george w. bush in 2000, but it could have
helped kerry in 2004. obama could have have possibly people were predicted in september and october won the electoral college while losing the popular vote. so the current system right now isn't skud. there is one red joker there is one blue joker in the deck. they wop up-- pop up but it is not a stacked deck. both parties might favor it states have road tested the idea. it adds to equality. >> rose: erol warren where do you place him in the mant panth onof chief justices. >> there a chapter on him, he is up there in my view with john marshal. >> rose: perhaps the greatest. >> and that say controversial statement, it seems. i think he made one huge mistake and i'm this, i'm with the conservatives. i think the warren court let criminal defendants off on crummy technicallities unrelated to guilt or innocence. and that hasn't aged very well. the exclusionary rule. >> rose: right. >> but on the other five
things that the warren court didn't. >> rose: you didn't like those rules. >> on that i am i'm to the right of justice scalia and thomas. we have common ground because it is not in the constitution's text and it's not really part of the american spirit. but the other five things. >> rose: don't let them go on technicallities. >> unrelated to guilt or innocence. but here are the five things that did, even today that conservatives actually affect. brown versus board of education, that many those affirmive-- we brief in brown, we have a different-- broad pro test of free speech, conservatives say that means citizens united but we believe in that too. one person one vote, conservatives say yes, that means bush versus gore because the recount was unequal. we believe in that. religious equality. yes, but don't discriminate against religion. say the conservatives. so what is the other one, applying the bill of rights against the states. >> rose: yeah. >> and conservatives say that means the second amendment and not just the first and the fourth and the fifth. and so although hugely
controversial at the time, the warren court actually laid the foundation for the house that you and i and all our audience lives in, is the house that earl warren dreamed up. because here is what the world is in 1953. apartheid, massive mall apportionment in many of the states, organized prayer in the public schools, no broad protection of free speech, practically no right force criminal defendants. and the bill of rights doesn't apply against the states. that's not our world. but that's the world of 1953. and earl warren, hugo black, a textualist as much as scale ya, but from the left. >> rose: a senator from alabama. >> and bill brennan, a northeast judge from-- a democrat, a southern democrat senator and a western progressive republican governor, the three of them. >> rose: what is interesting is that black was a senator. >> yes. >> rose: warren was a governor. >> exactly. and brennan was a judge. >> rose: exactly. but they were not all --
>> they weren't all judges. >> rose: and now so many of them come from the court of appeals or district court or in some cases like solicitor general. >> before elena kegan was appointed to the court every single justice, the first time in american his three was not only a judge, not only a federal judge, not only a federal, a federal appellate judge but a sitting federal appellate judge. every single one of them before elena who was solicitor general. the court thattive ga you brown versus board of education, none of them had been judges before except hugo black who had sat on a police court at age 26 or something. john marshal, not a judge before a justice. roger tawney, not. >> rose: great chief justice of california. >> earl warren, none of these people, william rehnquist hadn't been a squj before he was a justice. so we used to have a tradition of more senators and governors as well as judges. and maybe tlrb --. >> rose: you think that is a good idea.
>> not nine of them, maybe, but a few, yes, a few of them who have been elected rrz you don't have to be go to law school to go to the supreme court. >> i suppose so. >> rose: you suppose so or-- ? >> nowadays as a practical matter it's worse than that. every single one of them went to harvard or yale, not just law school. >> rose: what do you think of that? >> maybe not so good. good for me because i'm training those people. maybe not so great for the country because maybe you know i'm cooky and we want to have a diverse portfolio of people who have other professors rather than just a handful. so it's very much against interests. but maybe every so often someone else should-- . >> rose: you don't like the idea of two senators from each state. you think maybe they ought to be more reflective of population. >> and i think-- . >> rose: so new york might have six and somebody else would have one. >> and i talk about how that could actually happen even with the constitution has some very special rules about that. and here is just a wild idea. because right now why would wyoming ever agree to
modify. because remember, the amendment can't pass unless by two-thirds of the senate which is currently, you know, wyoming count equal with new york, and three quarters of the state, wyoming counts equally as new york, why would wyoming people ever go for that? here's what i propose. let's imagine a constitutional amendment that won't go into effect for a 100 years. let's try to think about how we could be framers for a future posterity, a senator from wyoming could say, you know, 100 years from now my grandkids are as likely to be californians as new yorkers as wyoming. why should we privilege wyoming over california and new york. why shouldn't i try to be impartial as to all america. that's what i mean by the constitution of the future. the preamble talks about pos perritt -- posterity and we talk about stuff that happened 250 years ago. we can be framers of the future, talk about what should be fair rulesor an america 250 years from now. >> rose: how would you like to sit on the supreme court? >> probably not my skill set. i do know people that i would love to see on it but
i'm pretty happy where i am. >> you clerked for judge pryer-- brier. >> while he was a supreme court. >> and nicest boss ever. >> rose: does's agree with most of what you say? >> you know, he cares less, maybe, about the text than i do. he's more of a practical pragmatic person. i take some conservative positions in this book. i champion a right of individuals to have a gun in the home for self-protection. because i think that's part of our american -- >> any kind of gun. >> for self-protection in the home. >> rose: any gind of gun. >> no, no. >> rose: so how do you define what kind of gun. >> well, i think, in fact if liberals and i'm a liberal, would concede that there is some second amendment right, then now conservatives can say fine, we can have reasonable regulation and it won't be the first step on a slippery sloip to tyranny and all the rest. so there is a limit on how much ammo and what kind of ammo you can have and what kinds of weapons because not all weapons are actually needed for self-defense in the home. and we can have reg
separation-- registration requirements and background checks and all sorts of same stuff and we are not going to confiscate everything. and we couldn't even if we wanted to. because there are almost as many guns as there are people in america. and it's a deep part of our constitutional culture. and the part of our unwritten constitution self-protection, guns in homes. i believe in reasonable regulation. steve brier on your question, is much more hostile to this vision. but i think in the end, if he's hostile to that vision, we're fever going to get gun control because people are going to say well, the first reasonable regulation dow is going to slide all the way into total confiscation. so liberals should actually say fine, guns in homes. now let's talk about-- . >> rose: what exactly does the constitution a? >> well, the framers talked about well regulated militias. >> rose: yes. >> but after the civil war, remember, justice scalia doesn't talk as much as he should about the amendments. the world that we live in is way more lincoln's world than washington's world.
and after the civil war,ed thattuous stevens, you know, tommy lee jones we are configure-- reconfigured. they don't like state militias, the founders like state militias, their key party, lincoln's generation believe in the national government. >> rose: fought for it. >> of course, the u.s. grant but they also believe individuals need guns in their homes for self-protection because blacks can't count on local cops to protect them from the clan. and the national rifle association is founded after the civil war by a group of exunion army officers. and so the second amendment means something actually a little bit different after the civil war than it meant before. and that is just one of many examples of how america's unwritten constitution requires us to reinterpret earlier text in light of later ones in the same way, that for example, a christian might, i'm christian, might read the
book of isaiah in light of the ministry of jesus. and reread that, a virgin shall give birth rather than a young woman. we read an earlier text in light of later one. so too we have to read he, him, his, about the presidency, in light of the 19th amendment, women are now politically equal swrechlt to read the words of the original bill of rights which is very localist tea party, states right, anti-federalist, in light of a 14th amendment, that amendment that makes me a citizen which is much more nationalist and individualistic, and sort of private. so that is what i try to show in this book. >> rose: america's unwritten constitution. back in i a moment. stay with us. >> julie taymor is here, one of theatre's most innovative directors, in 19 -- 7 she and disney collaborated to bring the lion king to broadwayment taymor directed the production, designed the costumes and codesigned all the mask and puppets. now she is work on a new
>> rose: we talked about that with mr. hopkins when he was here, as you remember. >> yeah. >> rose: when are you going back to make another movie. >> i'm working on one now, a movie musical, yes. and it's based on the thomas man novel the-- . >> rose: changed heads and died. >> changed heads, changed bodies t is a beautiful love triangle t is going to be in india and new york city and it's an original movie musical. we have, we're still writing the music now, elliott is doing it. >> rose: what did you think of less miserables. >> i thought it was amazing. >> rose: he did a good job having them do it real, didn't he. >> yes, but we had done that, you know that. >> rose: i didn't. >> i know that there is this thing that this is the first time. no, kos university was done 90% of it was sung live, on location. in fact, i talked to tom hooper about that a couple years ago. >> rose: as he was thinking about doing it. >> yes, i suggested that it is a really, it is an absolute crucial way to have the belief ability of the scene payoff. because when you have the dialogue and all of a sudden
you move into singing, there's no disconnect. and it's doable. some of the scenes are to the doable. some you can't do live because you've got too many cars or overhead sounds or what if an acker has a sore throat, gets cold feet, doesn't sound so good. so i think they did it differently. but in the case of across the universe, we were prepared to have prerecords, so if they had to lip sync, but in 90% of the case it was live. and sometimes even on first take. >> rose: and that's the way you are going to do this. >> absolutely. because i think you know, you really want to have that feeling that it is happening at the moment, same as the dialoguement you don't want to lip sync all your dialogue. >> rose: why is there controversy about you? >> you tell me, what controversy, what are you talking about. >> rose: you know what i am talking about. >> no, well-- . >> rose: you know what happened with spider-man and all of that, and all these stories about that she's tough and demanding and --
>> i'm no tougher or demanding than any other director who has a vision. and has a team that wants to do it. >> rose: exactly. if there are many people on the other side who say she is collaborative and creative and wants to share. >> yeah. well, i think that one thing tray do enjoy doing, whether it's in op ra, theatre or film, is to push the envelope. i like, i like to do things that haven't been done before. i like to take chances. i like to, i don't particularly like to repeat myself. so you no may recognize things that oh, that looks like work she's done before. but on the other hand the joy of creating is to do something you've never done before. and it's to bring things to people. and this is really a mantra for me that i want, i want to particular people to places they didn't know they wanted to go. there is lot of time you hear in the industry, in entertainment, give people what they want. but in fact, we don't really
know what they want, because they don't know what they want. so the joy is to say, okay, we know we have to move people. we have to inspire their hearts, their intellects. entertain em. but on the other hand let's do it in a refreshing new way. otherwise, they can just go on with their ode daily lives and nothing has transformed them. so for me it's all about that. that makes it that much harder. >> rose: i actually believe and i have quoted this often, mike nichols once said to me, he said i want my actors like my architect to surprise me. >> yes, absolutely. and i think the odd yearns wants to be surprised. they won't tell you that, but you know, that's the thing. you have to work with the team that's going to stay strong, keep, it's not that you keep blinders on and you don't listen all the wins that are happening around you. it's much tougher now, you know, with the blogging. it's much tough tore create something that's going to be original, experimental. i've been through that a couple of times.
>> yes, you have. >> yes, i have, that is what you are referring to. >> yes, of course it. >> but i'm here. i will get to that in a moment. let me go back to the beginning, there a great story about you, when you were three years old you told your mother you didn't like the newspaper. >> o pie god. she just said that at my birthday party. i done remember that but i think it's a good story. >> rose: and how did you, what was the shaping influence of asia on you. >> huge. i just spoke yesterday to a group that is celebrating 50 years of the experiment in international living. i when when i was about 15 or 1620 see lanka. and i lived with a family and i was thinking about that, how important it was for me at that age to not just travel as a tourist but actually go and live with a family. so that what i experienced at the time i umd stood from an insdept, impersonal from a very personal experience. when i saw him do ceremonies i understood it because the family i was living with was
hindu. and they would take me through it years later as you no know i went to indonesia when i was 20 or 21 and spent four years it. >> it was rough. >> what that did was-- taught you how to survive. >> yeah. i walked the edge of a crater. i waged the edge of that volcano and i told you that story before. an there's something so thrilling when you get to that place. and you know that you are on the edge but if you can just get across, if you can just get across that crater, what's on the other side is greater than anything you've spernlsed. so i learned how to not just speak the language but i had actors from bali, java, sumatra, jaff an ease, great performers working with me, we all had to speak indonesian. i was out of my element. >> this is the thing it is, it's being okay with discomfort. >> it's getting outside of your comfort zone. >> that's right, that's right. >> did you learn puppet ree
there and did you learn math there. did you get or was that something you had before you got there. >> well, i started before. i was in peter schumann's bread and puppet theatre when i was a kid during the vietnamese, all of the protests, you remember, those giant vietnamese ladies walking down fifth avenue. and i had started with puppets, very young. i didn't really like dolls but i did like puppets. and then when i, right before i went to indonesia i had studied at the american society for eastern arts. shadow puppet ree, jaff an ease shadow puppet ree which is one of the oldest forms of theatre that exist, because it's actually related to ancestor worship. and finally when i went to indonesia i was going for three months, i was so moved by the power of theatre in its original form o television, i know it's making me really old, but television wasn't that ubiquitous t wasn't everywhere, you didn't have, each village had their own
dance form. their own gammalong so i got to see these never its original, religious function. and it was so inspiring, i stayed four years and started a company of performers. and created two original shows, and that experience and the toughness of it, the excitement and the toughness always allowed me, you know how when people travel abroad it allows them to see their own culture in a different way. well, like with the artist without went to paris or in the 20s in mexico, you look back at your own culture with a different set of, all of us what are in television and have been in it for a while have always thought, two ideas have always been there, one is to have a dinner party and be able to photograph that, and have a great salon conversation which nobody has really ever done well. the other thing we've all tried to do in one way or another is do something that has the fight el as others see us, go to different cultures and see how they see us and what influence we
have on them. >> yeah, definitely. and i think that at a young age being able to get out of your comfort zone and do that allows you to have the ability when it is rough times, when dow have rough times, you have to step away for a moment. just look at it. put it in context and say really what is going on here. and that has helped me tremendously, my early years in the far east. >> rose: what were you doing when the disney opportunity came up? >> let me see. i think i had just finished directing an opera, this was, i think hi done my first opera in japan. for sagio, i did-- philip language, so there was one, doing a latin language opera in where was it, in japan, first operahouse there, with 120 japanese men in the chorus. and the biggest diva of all time and hi never directed
an opera before. but it was tremendous. it was on television. but i had done opera. i was doing the flying dutchman at the l.a. opera and i got a call from tom schumacher, would you be interested in doing the lion king. and he laughed because i lnt seen the animated film. >> rose: why de want new. >> that's a question from him but from what i understood. >> rose: he must have told you. he is calling you because i believe that you can do this because what are you have been doing is perfect for this. >> yeah, hi been doing-- the piece that we became, how we got to know each other was a piece called liberty's taken that elliott goldenthal and i created that was a-- norman lear actually produced it, put the money into it, it was about the american revolution from the underbelly, the underbelly it was jonathan corncorporation the a political scamp meets this woman disguised as a man who was an endentured servant who joined the army. and i did it with 15 actors play --00 roles. and the way i did it was with all kinds of puppets
and masks. and tom schumacher of disney was familiar. he was trying to bring it to l.a. to the olympic arts festival. tt i hadgot there but he taken something that seems unwieldy for the live theatre and found a method of doing it. and also my work which had been at music theatre group and then lincoln center had, you know h been nominated for tony awards and was a myth logical tale, well, it was actually by quiroga but about a jaguar that becomes human. so i had dealt with animal tales. and mythologies. and put them on the stage. and i think disney felt even though i was from the avant guard and hi my own artistic style and aesthetic, they felt that if they married these two things together make they would come ef-- come up with something new. >> $5 billion later looks like they may have been right. >> 15 years, we're opening a new one in braz nil a month. >> so it's playing somewhere around the world. >> like 15 countries seven
different languages. >> why is that, what is it. >> it's the story. >> yes, definitely, the story is the story of coming of age t is that kind. >> it's about animals. >> it's about animals wnd with. >> and human values, questions. >> it is. but i think it's also the experience of live theatre itself. live theatre. that is so excites people. we see movies and tv. even though we have 3 d of it v, you still have to put the glasses on. you are still aware it's not in your living room. what i tried to do with lion king and was very supported by the disney company, it was a brilliant relationship. and a ball to do, is i tried to break that wall and really bring the animals and the experience into the audience. so when the el fant walks down the aisle and when you get the hyenas coming and brushing shoulders with the little kids in the aisle t was exciting for people. and i think the concept of
theatre suspends your disbelief which is such a beautiful expression, well, i don't believe that i don't believe that. >> suspension. >> suspend that disbelief, allow yourself to fall into the awe of what imagination can do. transformation. i know it's not real but for this two hours or two and a half hours, i'm going to feel that i'm in the savannah. >> take me. >> so they're wearing the glass land on their head, i believe it. >> rose: i do too, this is what-- said about the puppet. a single taymor puppet leaves an indefinitely more indelible impression on the manageation than the whole kaboodle of descending awe certificate-- saucers, hell korpt, collapsing chand letters and similar contrack-- contraptions of other broadway musicals. >> nice. >> rose: puppets, you can stimulate the mask can stick late the imagination in an incredible way. >> yes. and the audience t is a poetic medium. theatre is a poetic medium.
the audience, because they are suspending their disbelief they are ready to go further and fill in the blanks. they don't have to see the fur. they don't have to have the head hidden. they get it. they see the mask on top. and the human face. and they put it together. >> rose: and they become one. the actor and the mask become one. >> absolutely. and you appreciate the ar of making. not just the story but how the story is told so it's a double event. it's a wonderful experience to be able to enjoy the process. >> rose: i think it was jeffrey horwitz who said about you that you have for a long time been fascinated by the connection between humans animals and birds. >> well all probably have an animal spirit. >> many societies will identify. >> our animal spirit, what animal are you? >> a lion. >> a lion, good. and we're alike in that way. >> i think that what i love, just in talking about the birds, the birds is a big part of how, the birds 3r in
the magic flute, the birds were in the king's stag. a number of my pieces have these kite birds. one of the things that i loved about using japanese or chinese kites and flying them off of these bamboo poles is it is just silk and string and a rod. and it flies. and i think when you watch that it is the air and the action of the actor, the dancer that makes it move, there's something marvelous, literally marvelous about that. reaose: how lont d ityo have to get it ready? >> i think it was probably two years before we opened the show. >> rose: we opened in minneapolis. the good old days of the out of town tryout. very important. >> rose: yes. >> because if you look at the preview period which became a subject on the whole spider-man thing, we go out of town in minneapolis. we tech it. we preview it. we found out in our first week of previews that we
could not do the show without a major stop. so it was very amusing because peter schneider and tom shoemanager, the two producers, we couldn't get the stampede set up technically. we couldn't get it ready. so they would come on stage in the first week, light was go up and say don't leave your seats. are you the lucky onesment you are the audience in the process of previews where you are getting to see it transform. so stay where you are while we take about 10 minutes now to set up the scene. now during that time in previews, we had to write new material. because we definitely couldn't get the scenery ready so we wrote what is called an in one down stage in the front, the scene between mufasa and zazu which is there to cover the time, but ended up being one of the most important emotional scenes in the piece. so we learned that we needed that because technically we couldn't do the show. then you come back to new york and you have another, i don't know, six to ten, i done know how many weeks of previews, so when you add it all up it's a lot of
previews before the show actually opened officially on broadway. >> rose: i take it you didn't have that on spider-man. >> we had the same amount of time but it was all in one city and that means we were under the microscope of new york. >> rose: did you ask creditics not to come. >> yes, we did. >> rose: and they said. >> half of them honored what you should honor which is we're not ready yet. you don't have to pay your ticket. if you don't want to come to preview, don't come. if you want your money back, no problem. no one actually ever saw, i mean, it never got finished so what we had, i worked on it eight years what we had aimed to do, what our vision was. >> rose: eight years before it opened. >> eight years to develop. but yes, yes. but not eight years solid on just that. i did across the universe, i did the magic flut, bono and edge did their thingsment it took a lot of time to develop. >> rose: what did they do. >> they did their tours, you know. but and we loved it. hi a great time work on spider-man. >> rose: then why is there so much acrimony.
>> oh. >> rose: lawsuits, firings. >> yes, but i'm still the director of what you are seeing. >> rose: let's just talk about it for a secretary. >> just a second, right. >> rose: no, more than a secretary. i want to hear it from your mouth. >> i'm still in settlement so i can't say. >> rose: settlement or -- >> settlement. >> rose: so you are having settlement discussions. >> uh-huh, so there are certain things that i am forebodden. >> rose: yeah, but you believe that the stuff that you did is the stuff that received awards, that it was your contribution that is still there, even though they say we changed it. >> whatever, it doesn't matter what they say. i spent a lot of time with my comrades, all of them, you will see it, and you know, you don't change your show in three weeks. it got cut, you know, it got simplified, there's no doubt but it's still a great show. >> rose: yeah. >> i'm still proud of my
people, my collaborators and what we did on it. and it's still successful. >> rose: what is it you want that they don't want to give you that caused to you have this great litigation. >> no, that is public. >> rose: what are you negotiating. >> actually-- . >> rose: is it money are you negotiating. >> no. >> rose: what is if then. >> that's all settled. we're actually waiting for them, and this is public knowledge, for the producers to make their renegotiate their deal with marvel. s this's it i'm waiting for them to finish their business. >> rose: some say that the reason you had to rush it was because of the markel licence was expiring. >> yes, yes. >> rose: and that was one of the motivating factors. >> yes, that happens. yes, we had deadlines. you know, we went through-- . >> rose: was it an untenable situation from the beginning. >> no, it was a beautiful situation from the beginning. >> rose: but edge and bono were not always there, because they were off touring. >> no, they were there, as we were creating the show they were there i traveled to ireland or to france. they came here. we worked on it. and it was a very, very
positive experience. it was excitingment and everybody, producers, everybody was thrilled about, well, i done know if everybody was. but the people who i met. >> evidently not. >> well, no in the beginning people were excited. you don't get all that money to go build the sets and do it if people don't believe in what are you doing. >> from the beginning. >> yes. >> i can tell you more in bono an -- >> yeah. and you know the thing is that when are you creating something that wasn't a normal broadway musical and we always said it wasn't t was always circus, that say big concept there of circus, rock 'n' roll drama, the only thing you can compare it to is skirk du soleil. and cirques du soleil which does their shows in vegas and some here they cost upward of 200 million, 250 million dollars and they have soft openings for a year. >> hmmmm. >> because you are using technology that has never been done before. the flying in spider-man has never been done in theatre. we were really experiencing.
>> trying to make it safer. >> well, you know, yes, trying to make it safer. but the major accident that happened had nothing to do with flying. so let's not get into that. but the point is that we were creating something that was technically avant-garde. it had never been done, even with the la, so we had technical problems and our set design that was supposed to be the coup detheatre to end the show didn't work so we were always struggling to get to the end. >> rose: and you always knew. >> we knew exactly. >> rose: nobody could come to you and say we got problems here. >> of course i knew t i would spend every day, 8 shows a week, whenever you have rehearsals spending time trying to fix it and make it better. >> rose: was this the most pressure you had been under. >> i suppose. >> rose: how did you handle the pressure. >> i worked my ass off. i was surprised when i was told that i had let sgchlt i had never been warned. >> rose: how did they express that. >> i think it was like let'
let's-- you're exhausted, probably. >> rose: this is not working. >> you're exhausted. it's like, okay. >> rose: but you had never been fired from anything. >> no. but it actually wasn't the word fired, it was like take a vacation. come back in two weeks. >> rose: choose your euphemisms. >> yes, exactly. but i think at the moment i didn't-- . >> rose: you didn't think i had been fired, you thought about shall did shall did. >> well, i felt we should have opened. even though i fell we should still keep working to finish the piece. because i think you know you need to stick together as a family. one of the things about lion king is there were a lot of times where people weren't sure was that going to work. there was doubt, oh, you have to do a workshop this is never going to work. of course we had naysayers, we were doing something experimental then as well but we stuck together, everybody even if they had doubts we stuck together. >> so there is a settlement and it will work out. >> it will be fine. >> rose: how good is it now. >> the show? i have seen it since the opening. >> rose: you went to the opening.
>> yes. >> rose: you mean the beginning opening. >> no, i went to, i went to both. i went to the previews and i went to the official opening. >> rose: is it hard for to you go watch it? s. >> well, actually it's hard to go watch any show whether it's the magic flute, lion king. >> rose: why, because you see the flaws. >> yes, as a director and the creator, sometimes, you see performances or you see things that aren't quite work. and you just have to look at the audience and you have to say if it's working for them, then great. and. >> rose: tell me about theatre for a new audience. >> i love theatre for a new audience. theatre for a new audience is a brilliant company, meaning it is not a company of factors but there are many ackers that come back and forth and many directors who work there many times. but jeffrey horwitz is one of the producers who is one of my best friends. and i have done four or five shows for him. and they have been an i tin rent company for i don't
know-- itinerant company for what, 20, 30 years, they have not had a home, nothing. nothing. finallying finally, i think i did green bird, we did it, we did at the new victory then in la jolla and then on broad waismt i did titus, the tempist 2 or 3 times including in stratford. >> rose: what are you going to do next? >> i'm opening their new theatre, i'm doing the first production in a these their is currently being built in brooklyn right next to bam between the bam harvey and operahouse. >> rose: okay. >> and the operahouse. and they're building a beautiful 299 seat theatre that is more like the national theatre's cottage. we don't have a theatre like this in new york which is the audience wrapped around 3 or 4 sides. and i'm going to open it and there is the first time we're announcing midsummer night's dream. >> oh pie goodness. that's great. have you started casting. >> yes, yes. >> rose: and who is in it. >> we have one person, so far. and i done know if i should say the name of the actor. >> rose: yes, you should,
come on. >> well, anyway. >> you have been cagey enough. >> i haven't been cagey but we have-- puck to cast. and i would love to have somebody but she's not available right now. >> rose: who is that. >> evan, evan rachel wood did the reading of helena. >> rose: i know her. >> so we will see if she does that or not. and no, we are just beginning casting. but after i leave here i go back home and work with the set designer. >> rose: you know evan rachel wood was born? north carolina. >> is that where are you from. >> rose: yes, of course. >> and her dad does theatre. >> rose: and mother left and took her to california. >> she has born to do live theatre, brilliant. >> rose: and she plays not a mean game of basketball. >> well, and across the universe she is singing and playing basketball. yeah, no, i'm very, very excited about that. the team is coming over, the creative team is coming on thursday and we're going to work out the set design. and jeffrey say brilliant producer.
so this is exciting, to have a classical theatre, brook, a lot of really interesting, bartlet sherr he has done a lot of shakespeare for jeef ree as well and is a wonderful director. >> but shakespeare is not breaking new ground. >> yes, it is. it is always breaking new ground. it is, well, you saw the tempest. i didn't come here to talk about the tempest but you saw the movie with helen mirren, that was breaking ground. >> who loved working with you, by the way. >> thank you, i love her she is the best. she played prosperaing that, that break new ground. >> rose: she is one that lined up on that side to say -- >> they're mostly that i hope. but you know, i have 20 years long time collaborations that are great. and actors, alfred molina who did diego and was stefano and allen cumming was in titus and in the tempest. i think shakespeare is forever breaking ground. because nobody writes like
him. and the blueprints of-- . >> rose: no one does it the same way. that is great licence, different interpretations can come and make it their own. >> right. and you are always going to have theatre for new audience calls itself a new audience that has never seen it. so how you tell. it is once again how do you tell it and it's very thrilling to work with that language. and have it become physical and visual because it is so, so physical in its own words. >> rose: this is not a brave new question but what is the state of theatre in america vetoy? >> oh, god. >> rose: well, that bad? >> well, see i never think these certificate going to die because i don't think one-to-one human connection will ever be surpassed. >> rose: i don't either. >> so you can do all the technology you want. you know, i get often asked, i was at the aspen conference, you were there this summer. would i be interested in et creating for the i pard, and i said well, why would i want to have everybody aim
down here when they can go up, and out. and it's-- . >> rose: i will tell you if you want me to tell you. >> yes. >> rose: because it is not either/or, you want to create for the ipad because that's its own world. and people can see it, around the world and it's just an extraordinary vehicle to make an appreciation. >> no i understand but it's not going to kill the thing -- >> no, no, that is huge and dimensional. >> in fact what it should do, is enhance it. >> i agree. and make you have access and want to see it. >> rose: that's right, exactly. want to you go further and see it because you were so touched by the ipad form that you want to go see it. >> now you want it to surround you. i think that the met doing the live hd broadcasts, for instance, magic flute was the first one. >> rose: i loved that, yeah. >> and now that it's in movie theatres for $20 as opposed to $150 it's turned on a whole new audience to opera. so that mean these are going to want to see it live. it's great that it is -- >> you have said that
theatre for young people should be like food. >> oh, yes, of course. they should have to have tchlted they should have an addiction to it. but i thinks there's all kinds of theatre. and i'm going to be and because we have set it up there were many other projects that i'm working on but i get very excited to the idea of creating a new kind of physical space with theatre. and because i do films, and theatre, i do like where those two can meet each other and the use of not just regular projections but how do we get 3-d film and live theatre and really enhance our stories through what the technology we have. >> rose: the more tools that a creator has the more opportunity there is to sort of transcend the past. >> uh-huh. >> rose: and explore new boundaries. >> definitely, yeah. much success. >> thank you. >> rose: great to see you. >> you too. >> rose: as always. julie taymor, thank you for joining us. see you next time.
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